Appeals Court Sides With Dish, AutoHop Feature Stays

Another victory for Dish Network for its Hopper set-top box, which has a controversial TV commercial-skipping feature called AutoHop.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed with a lower court’s November decision rejecting Fox Broadcasting Company’s efforts to stop Dish from including AutoHop and PrimeTime Anytime features on its Hopper set-top-box device.

PrimeTime Anytime allows consumers to record prime-time shows on each of the four broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) and save them for up to eight days. AutoHop allows consumers to play back certain PrimeTime Anytime recordings commercial-free, starting the day after broadcast.

R. Stanton Dodge, executive vice president/general counsel for the Dish Network, stated: “This decision is a victory for American consumers, and we are proud to have stood by their side in this important fight over the fundamental rights of consumer choice and control.”

“We are disappointed in the court’s ruling, even though the bar to secure a preliminary injunction is very high," stated Fox. "This is not about consumer choice or advances in technology. It is about a company devising an unlicensed, unauthorized service that clearly infringes our copyrights and violates our contract.”

Analysts believe there will be more legal challenges to come -- especially since the decision was a very narrow review, and the court did not comment on the ultimate merits of the case



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